Pancho Campo MW on the Spanish fine wines

Mr. Pancho Campo MW, the first Spanish Master of Wine and President and founder of the Wine Academy of Spain is bringing the Wine Future 2011 to Hong Kong starting the 6th of November, 2011.  Wine Future was created in 2009 by the Wine Academy of Spain, its purpose to bring the most important wine personalities from around the world together to discuss the current challenges faced by the wine industry and provide solutions and able leadership.  


Asian Palate discusses with Mr. Campo the popularity and quality of Spanish wines in the world wine market, and its ability of to perfectly pair with Chinese cuisine.


AP: Asian Palate; PC: Pancho Campo


AP: Are white wines getting more interest/attention in Spain – where most wines made remain predominantly red at present?


PC: Absolutely. The problem with most Spanish wines, specially whites, is that they are not well promoted internationally. The main varieties that produce fruity wines with nice refreshing acidity are Albariño and Verdejo. These varieties have become very popular in the US and represent the potential of Spain for the production of quality white wines.

AP: Beyond white Rioja, Albarino or Rueda, are there any white grape varieties, local or international, that are gaining popularity as the next varietal for making great whites?


Godello is a grape that comes from Galicia, specifically from a DO known as Valdeorras. It produces wines with nice balancing acidity and fantastic mouthfeel, specially when slightly oaked. I am a big fan of white Grenache which produces very complex, spicy and intense wines in Priorat.

AP: Will there be a continual dominance of wines with lot of oak? Or will traditions recede and give way to more fruit-forward wines?


PC: The style has already changed and that is a myth that we need to get rid of. Spain today is regarded as “The New World of The Old World” because the wines now are fruit-forward, voloptuous, easy to drink and understand and with tremendous quality. The more traditional style Rioja´s is still very popular amongst certain type of drinkers. However, the wines from Rioja that are obtaining the highest scores and have made an impact in the international markets are the modern style which are fruit driven with a well integrated French oak.

AP: Besides iconic Rioja/Ribera producers, which wines are the new young icons in Spain? In which wine region are many of them found?


PC: Regions that are producing some amazing wines which have obtained top scores include Priorat, Montsant, Jumilla, Bierzo, Toro and Campo de Borja for example. These regions make wines of excellent quality at incredible prizes, using indigenous grape varieties such as Grenache, Monastrell, Mencia, Tempranillo and Carignan. Some of these new icon wines are: Aquilon from Campo de Borja; El Nido from Jumilla; Termanthia and Victorino from Toro; Utreia de Valtuille from Bierzo; Clos Erasmus, Ferrer-Bobet and Mas Doix from Priorat; Espectacle from Montsant; Recaredo and Gramona from Cava.


AP: What are your top 5 best value wines from Spain?


PC: Number one would be Campo de Borja which is the birth place of Grenache. The second is Priorat and Montsant that also produce Grenache based wines but also beautiful Carignane. Third is Jumilla is the region where Monastrell originates (Mourvedre in France or Mataro in Australia). The fourth would be Cavas that have been aged on their lees for more than 3 years are fantastic. But lastly, I believe that nothing beats Sherry when it comes to fantastic value.

AP: Any wonderful Spanish wine and Chinese food pairings that you can recommend?


PC: The beauty of Spain in regards to pairing with Chinese food is that I can´t think of another country with more styles of wines. Since Chinese food it is so varied in flavors and styles you also need a wide variety of wines to pair. Red wines can be produced in many forms and styles, white wines, fruit driven rosés, gorgeous sparkling wines and off course the many versions of sherry. A fantastic food pairing that really gave me “goose bumps” is Amontillado Sherry with hairy crabs and also Sichuan spicy food with aged Cava.


Pancho Campo is the first Spanish Master of Wine and President and founder of the Wine Academy of Spain and of the Spanish Wine Education certification program. He is also a recommended Tutor for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, and the founder of the World Conference on Climate Change & Wine. Mr Campo is also noted for his previous extensive events organisation experience in the management of the Davis Cup, the World Cup of Indoor Trials, the Pro Beach Soccer World Tour and events with Andre Agassi, Stefab Edberg, Emilio and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Eric Cantona, Pink Floyd, Sting, Enrique Iglesias, Tom Jones and Jamiroquai amongst many others.